From the ground up

by | Oct 2022

AS HE sits back in the chair to smile for a picture, he laughs.

“It’s not often I’m sitting still,” he said, smiling.

Just as soon as it is taken, the Tullahoma City Schools (TCS) maintenance director, Tim Jensen, is back up and at it making sure the next order of business is ready to tackle.

In his line of work, time is of the essence. Jensen and his crew are responsible for keeping the more than 3,000 students of Tullahoma City Schools housed safely, along with teachers and staff. From heating and air, to electrical, to making sure each school’s oven works, they have a hand in making sure it is all in tip-top shape.

“I take a lot of pride that with our department we do everything in house except for roofing and concrete,” he said. “We do our carpentry; build our cabinets; our own electrical; plumbing; painting; and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). We sub very little out, unless it’s a project.

Jensen started his career with the school system in 1990 after being hired as the HVAC technician. However, he would help with many more maintenance issues due to his extensive experience with fixing things. Since childhood, Jensen has been developing his talent in being handy. As a child he would tag along with his grandfather who worked as a custodian and maintenance man at a school in Illinois. He was also fond of taking apart and reassembling lawn mowers as a child.

“I’ve always wanted to do maintenance, because I’ve always been handy,” said Jensen. “When I was a kid, I would tear lawn mowers apart and then build them back.

By tearing it apart, I could figure out what was wrong with it. But even if I couldn’t figure it out, I would still be able to put it back together and let the person know that I couldn’t find what was wrong with that.”

As he got older, he worked with his father installing sheetrock. Jensen’s path would take a few more turns but would eventually find him following his dreams and taking the position with TCS.

Four years ago, he accepted the position as director and has been working hard to make his crew the best they can be. With a crew of 10 under his supervision, Jensen said he is most proud of his crew and their turnaround when it comes to completing projects.

“Most of my crew are all certified in all they do, and they are all good at what they do,” he said. “I take pride in having most of our work orders done within a 24-hour period. From the time they submit it to the time we get it fixed, unless we have to order parts. A lot of schools I talk to have a much larger turnaround. Some have to wait a week before their heat and air work.”

Jensen and his men’s abilities were put to the test a few months back. Just days before the schools opened their doors for the 2022-23 school year, a surge protector failed causing a small fire at the West Middle School.

Jensen and his team immediately went into action. The classroom it affected was only out of commission just one day following the beginning of school.

“We were fortunate in that it happened the weekend before school started, and we only had them out one day as far as being in the classroom. By Tuesday they could use it again. That’s drying everything, plus the 10,000 gallons that the fire department put in there. [We installed] new ceiling tiles, new duct work, and new diffusers. Unfortunately, the teacher lost her book collection, but we are thankful that no one got hurt and everything did what it was supposed to. That’s what we work for. We get all our inspections done and everything is taken care of.”

Jensen said incidents like those are less likely to happen thanks to things like their preventive maintenance program.

The program was implemented thanks to Jensen’s willingness to embrace new technology.

“They say you can’t teach a dog new tricks, but that’s a lie,” he laughed. “I hired a secretary to help with the paperwork and technological side of things. I really wanted to implement a preventive maintenance program. In the past, we’ve missed on the preventative maintenance program. This one, we have it set up on a computer. We can tell it when it needs to be done, and it will remember and then generate the order and then we’ll know to take care of it. Everything is just more streamlined with technology.”

Now, 33 years into it, he said his job never gets boring, and he is proud to be able to help maintain these wellbuilt buildings.

“It’s been an interesting ride,” he said. “I know that there isn’t a ceiling or crawl space, closet, or nook or cranny that I haven’t been in. Our buildings are old compared to the rest of the school systems in Tennessee. But I would put these buildings up against any of the newer ones. As far as the way they are built, kept, and are functional. All in all they are pretty reliable buildings.” GN

More Good News

In Other News

In Other News

THS Tennis Team Donates Old Tennis Balls to Police K-9 Unit.  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can give old tennis balls to a certified police service dog. That is exactly what...

read more
Recipes: Touchdown Favorites

Recipes: Touchdown Favorites

IT’S THAT time of year again when friends gather, jerseys are donned, and anticipation fills the air. Whether you’re an avid sports fan or simply enjoy the camaraderie, there’s one thing that can...

read more
In Other News

“In Other News”

TCS Named 2023 Best Communities for Music Education Award Winner.  FOR THE second year, Tullahoma City Schools (TSC) has been awarded the Best Communities for Music Education Award by the...

read more
Women Impacting the Community

Women Impacting the Community

"WE CAN all do more than nothing,” said Dr. Monica Blake-Beasley. As the keynote speaker for the Women Impacting the Community event held on May 9, she recalled how she learned to “fail forward.” In...

read more
Faith: The Power of Perspective

Faith: The Power of Perspective

WE SAW the sky but little else through the window in the room where we sat. The gray and white clouds marched briskly by as blues and grays traded places.  She was convinced the clouds would...

read more
Faith: “I Got You, Girl.”

Faith: “I Got You, Girl.”

IT IS the best of times; it is (sometimes) the worst of times. I have three children, ages 16, 12, and 5. It’s not lost on me how fast they grow. Now, with a child who is nearing 18, it really does...

read more
Faith – When It’s Hard to See

Faith – When It’s Hard to See

WE FEEL the most comfortable when we know where we’re going. Knowing our destination, all the familiar landmarks along the way, and where we’ll settle in once we’ve arrived gives us a sense of...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Women of Tullahoma

JUST OVER 100 years ago, women finally received what other Americans, but not all, already had — the right to vote. Now, we have the opportunity to lift up and celebrate the groundbreaking women...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Recipes – Spread the love

MARCH 1 is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day — a day to celebrate the rich, gooey goodness of a pantry staple. What better way to start the day than with a batch of special pancakes? Then, keep up...

read more
From the heart

From the heart

IMAGINE LIFE is a car, and our goal is to make it from one side of the country to the other. The only way to do that is by having a full tank of gas. What is the gas in our lives, as humans, that...

read more
History over and over again

History over and over again

I AM IN the middle of my third decade of life, and within the last two years, I’ve discovered something I always ignored: music from the midcentury. Life does not seem to be slowing down. Our...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Faith – ‘Just as you are’

FOR OVER 30 years, children’s television host Mister Rogers came into the homes of millions via our television sets and told each of us one of the most important things a person could say to us. “I...

read more
History over and over again

Tis the season

ALL I want for Christmas iiiiiiis…yoooooOOooooOOoouuuUUUuuu.” Can you hear it already? It’s that time of year once again. A time of year when a heated blanket feels like a hug. Every inch of the...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Christmas at Tims Ford State Park

STRING LIGHTS lined the recreation hall, transforming the simple room into a warm and welcoming place for all to come. The sweet smell of fresh baked cookies drifted through the air each time the...

read more
History over and over again

Life’s short; eat dessert.

WE DUST off the artificial pumpkin decorations and pull orange and purple wreaths from storage. We pull out rakes and sweaters as the weather drops like the leaves do. The weather feels therapeutic...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Go straight to the best

TAKE A deep breath and smell the aroma of lunch cooking in the kitchen. It was a very important meal. Jesus and the 12 stopped in to visit the home of Martha and Mary, in Bethany. Through the...

read more
Dreams of walking in true freedom

Dreams of walking in true freedom

"WE HAVE an extensive waiting list. Before we’re able to help, ladies will overdose and die. They are no longer here to reap the benefits of Blue Monarch,” said Shakia Craig, the officer of...

read more
If you dream it, they will come.

If you dream it, they will come.

IN 1995, Susan Binkley was running a high-profile horse hotel and selling her artwork at a gallery in Nashville. Becoming the founder and president of Blue Monarch, a nonprofit for women seeking to...

read more
A stroke of opportunity

A stroke of opportunity

GIVING TULLAHOMA High School and Tullahoma Virtual Academy art students a unique opportunity to showcase their artistic talents is the Tullahoma Fine Arts Center (TFAC). The arts center will...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Someone Has Your Back

WHEN THE SMELL of warm caramel coffee lingers in the air of your vehicle on the way to work, you don’t have to think about watching your back. While not every driver on the road is aware of their...

read more
Making a splash!

Making a splash!

SINCE 1959, the Tullahoma Swim Club has been making a splash in the community. Over the years they have added a team at Tullahoma High School and most recently a middle school team for both East and...

read more
Being the Calm in the Storm

Being the Calm in the Storm

THICK BLACK SMOKE pours out of an old home that sits back off of a long winding road. Though the scene looks relatively calm to the naked eye, appearances can be deceiving. Inside, red, orange, and...

read more
Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

WHETHER GOOD, or bad, some of the most memorable moments of a person’s life have been inside the walls of a sterile hospital. For some people, those days are incredibly painful to reflect on or...

read more
With care and appreciation

With care and appreciation

WHEN TRAGEDY and hardship strike, we want to help. We demonstrate our love and care in various ways, but feeding those hit hard meets a basic need and fuels them to manage their situations. Few...

read more
Front Porch Fridays

Front Porch Fridays

TENNESSEE backroads are notorious for their beauty and knack for hospitality. Pick any old country road, and you’ll find good times hiding around each and every bend. Locally, if you were to take a...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Game Day Party Recipes

THE ELECTRIFYING atmosphere under Friday night lights is majorly fueled by loyal fans scattered across stadium seats. Young children with painted faces, parents with cushioned seats, and...

read more
Planning for growth

Planning for growth

THE CITY of Tullahoma is growing. Responsible for making sure that growth takes place in the correct space is Mary Samaniego. Samaniego is the planning director for the City of Tullahoma Planning...

read more
Bringing the beat to the game

Bringing the beat to the game

YOU CAN hear them before you see them. Instruments, performing in perfect unison, send an infectious sound out into the air that alerts all who hear it that the evening’s events are about to begin....

read more
An Honest Conversation

An Honest Conversation

PROVERBS 24:26 reads, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” But what kind of kiss are we talking about? Because not every kiss is enjoyable, and not every honest word is easily received....

read more
A cheerleader’s perspective

A cheerleader’s perspective

IN A SMALL TOWN, many components culminate to make Friday night football games the memorable experiences they are. The most notable element, of course, is the people. Individuals playing different...

read more
Letter From the Editor – The Women of Tullahoma

Classrooms made of steel

THE CLASSROOM is like railroad tracks. Hard workers spent years, decades—centuries even—laying the groundwork for the trains to run smoothly from coast to coast. They’re strong. And they last for...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Prepping for Back to School

IT MIGHT be one of the most exciting yet stressful times of the year, rivaling that of Christmas. It requires preparation, planning, logistics, time, and money. I’m almost sure there are military...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

But, God

WITH THE first cup of steaming coffee in my hand and the stiffness still in my joints, I gently ease into my spot on the couch. A fresh, new day offers a blank page, although the to-do list in my...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Classroom Approved

THE WORDS “back to school” can stir up many different emotions. Some young parents hear “school” and are instantly filled with dread and anxiety. Leaving their wide eyed babes for the first time can...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

So much more than teaching

DEFINING THE meaning of teacher requires more than Merriam-Webster; it takes a deeper look and a second glance. More than a job with a summer-long vacation, teachers are motivated by their love for...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Like a rock tossed into the water

SURROUNDED BY a sea of classmates, a student filled with potential may feel invisible or wish he could disappear. Another student’s highest aim might be to coast through school until graduation. One...

read more
Bringing the beef

Bringing the beef

BROADENING THE public’s accessibility to local beef and produce is Farmington Local Market. The market opened to the public in April. The store is a part of Farmington Angus, a farm based in...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Making the most of every day

FOR TEACHER Sharron Woodard, her approach to the classroom is all about making the most of every single day. The Tullahoma High School (THS) marketing teacher has worked tirelessly over the last two...

read more
Good changes in industry

Good changes in industry

THE BEGINNING of the year marked a large change in the industrial community of Coffee County, as Cookeville native Stephen Crook was hired as the Coffee County Industrial Board executive director....

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Beyond Victory

CHANCES ARE, if you’ve played basketball, softball, ran track, or been on the bowling team for West Middle School (WMS) or Tullahoma High School (THS) in the last 37 years, you’ve come across the...

read more
The Courtyard stage

The Courtyard stage

THIS TOWN can seem a bit off when the Tullahoma Wildcats aren’t taking the field at Wilkins Stadium on any given Friday night. It’s quiet and feels too still. We’ve all felt it, heard it, and...

read more
Letter From the Editor – The Women of Tullahoma

The Sound of Trumpets

IF YOU took a snapshot of any 10 years in our country’s history, there is a hurt we were trying to heal. The same is true today. It’s our independence that lets us correct that, to heal, and to...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

More than fireworks & cookouts

Here are fun facts to challenge your players:  DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: John Hancock’s was the first and only one on July Fourth. The remaining signatures were added over time,...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

The Dream Maker

WHEN VIKTOR Makela arrived in America from Finland, the Statue of Liberty welcomed him. He brought more than a few material possessions with him; he arrived with a heart filled with dreams. Makela...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Food, Fireworks & Fun

WE WELCOME a summer celebration more than ever, and Independence Day is the perfect time to gather for food, fun, fireworks, and flag-waving. There’s an event near you, so there’s no excuse for...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Freedom of fire

WHEN I was a young buck, I decided if there was a rule, I was going to break it. There have been many distinct times in my life when I have felt suffocated by others’ control, expectations, or...

read more
A Job Well Done

A Job Well Done

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER Week was recently observed April 17-23. To further mark the importance of the week, President Joe Biden declared it National Volunteer Week in a presidential proclamation to...

read more
A Silver Celebration of Hard Work

A Silver Celebration of Hard Work

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS in designing a flier for a friend’s business have led to a quarter century of business for Catherine Murray. Known affectionately by the community as “Cat,” she is the sole owner...

read more
School Lunch 101

School Lunch 101

FOR ALMOST a decade, Angela Cardwell has worked tirelessly to make sure the bellies of the Tullahoma City School (TCS) students are full and well-nourished. The director of nutrition for TCS and a...

read more
Raptor Rescue

Raptor Rescue

FOR TULLAHOMA residents Lyle and Valerie Russell, rehabilitating raptors has become a labor of love. As longtime falconers, the two have opened the Middle Tennessee Raptor Center (MTRC). According...

read more
Trusting the process

Trusting the process

THE TULLAHOMA High School (THS) girls and boys wrestling teams recently wrapped up successful seasons that included state appearances by both squads. While winning is important for the two teams...

read more
Celebrating those who impact

Celebrating those who impact

THE ANNUAL Women Impacting the Community event was held on May 17, at the Lakewood Golf and Country Club. Hosted by the Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC), the event celebrated the success...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Floating Vacations on Local Water

Whether it’s relaxation or adventure you’re seeking, you don’t have to look far to find it. Middle Tennessee’s waterways will refresh and restore you. A lazy float with nature’s soundtrack of...

read more
Jumping Into the Weekend Like…

Jumping Into the Weekend Like…

Imagine yourself being launched forward while sitting inside a giant tin can.That’s exactly how I felt as we took off down the runway, except this tin can wasn’t full of wild-caught tuna. Instead,...

read more
Letter From the Editor: Savoring the Summer Delights

Selfless

THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER dictionary defines the word selfless as “someone who has no concern for self, or unselfish.” As the world keeps turning, it may feel like selfless people are few and far between....

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

In the spirit of selflessness

WEBSTER MAY define selflessness as having no concern for self, but givers in our community give the world and our lives deeper meaning. They take to heart the well-being and care of others and place...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

Do bunnies lay eggs?

Easter parades may have passed on by, but its many other traditions are alive and well. Even though the internet has changed how we watch movies, families still watch “The Ten Commandments” every...

read more
Refreshing Summer Treats Straight Out of Mama’s Cookbook.

When empty is full

AS MORNING’S first light nudged the last of the darkness, Mary Magdalene walked with heavy heart and feet along the dirt road. The garden’s birdsong and fragrant blossoms, usually welcomed,...

read more
Tullahoma Earns Tree City Award

Tullahoma Earns Tree City Award

THE CITY of Tullahoma was recently awarded the Tree City USA designation, by The Arbor Day Foundation. Tree City USA is a program that provides communities with a four-step framework to maintain and...

read more